People like to take shots at Christianity, and they do so from a variety of motives. Perhaps they had a bad experience when visiting a church, or they realize that taking on Christianity implies a definite and lifetime commitment. Rarely do their critiques stem from actual evidence. In my years as a preacher I have heard at least five myths about Christianity that are simply not true.
1. There Are Hypocrites in the Church!
You’ve just discovered that? Jesus condemned the phenomenon long before you noted its existence (Matthew 23:23,24). Please note this, however: While the presence of hypocrites in the church is deplorable, their existence neither proves nor disproves Christianity.
2. I Can Serve Christ Without Bothering With the Church
I get it. Jesus is the loving, grace-filled son of God. The church is tawdry and flawed, populated with imperfect people. Yet Jesus is clear that we do not deplore weakness in the church; we use their presence to serve: “Truly I say to you as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). We cannot say we love God and deplore our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20). To sin against a brother (even a flawed, struggling brother) is to sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 8:12). To stop serving people because we don’t like their imperfect selves is a cop out!
3. Believers in God Are Ignorant
Note that Apollos was characterized by excellent education and talent (Acts 18:24,25). It is wonderful when a person of great talent chooses to use his talents for the Lord. God went to great lengths (Priscilla and Aquilla) to secure his services for Christ’s cause. Paul was also a highly talented and trained individual (Acts 22:3). Prior to becoming a Christian, he was a Jewish prodigy, advancing in Judaism far beyond his contemporaries (Galatians 1:14). To say that he was taught by Gamaliel would be akin to saying that someone had been trained in Oxford or Harvard in our day.
While it is true that God makes use of the humble and the “blue collar” (Peter, David the shepherd and so on) he also makes use of the highly talented and well prepared. Throughout history, Christians have out-thought their detractors. Christianity can claim such great thinkers as Tertullian, Anselm, and C.S. Lewis. Suggesting that Christians are ignorant is prejudice, just as surely as despising a person for his racial background is prejudice.
4. Christianity Discourages Rational Thought
Actually, Christians serve God with both head and heart. We utilize our minds, the academic and logical part of our makeup. Christians are to test everything and hold on only to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). When Jesus declared that we were to love the Lord with heart and soul, he added that we were to serve him with our mind (Matthew 22:37). Part of the transformed life Christians are required to live is the process of “renewing” our “mind” (Romans 12:2). Paul’s teaching in city after city included such qualities as “reasoning,” “explaining,” and “proving” his case (Acts 17:1-3; 18:4; 19:8).
5. Science and Faith Contradict Each Other
Scientific knowledge changes and develops. We once believed the earth was flat, the sun revolved around the earth. George Washington was “bled” by doctors to make him well; it probably hastened his death instead. Scientists once said the automobile shouldn’t travel faster than 45 m.p.h. because human organs would be crushed from the speed.
In other words, science changes all the time. That is not a critique of science, in fact, quite the opposite. True science grows and develops as it learns more. How much of the universe does science know today? Some might assume it is a high number. Actually, even on our own rather insignificant planet, we are still ignorant of a vast amount of it. For instance, 99% of all living space on earth lies in the ocean, and we have explored about 5% of the ocean.
These are all myths; the reality is that Christians, for the most part, are decent, thoughtful, and genuine in service to their Lord.